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What Is a Redirect Loop & How to Fix It

In today’s Internet-driven world, an effective website is essential for your company’s success. Unfortunately, creating and maintaining one often brings unexpected challenges.

 

Edona Shala

Content Writer

What Is a Redirect Loop & How to Fix It

In today’s Internet-driven world, an effective website is essential for your company’s success. Unfortunately, creating and maintaining one often brings unexpected challenges. We’ve all come across a “too many redirects” error message while surfing the web. You don’t want this error message to interfere with your site’s user experience or conversions.

 

Let’s explain what a redirect loop is and how to fix it in different browsers so you can get your site back up and running.

What Does Redirect Loop Mean?

Before we get into the details of a redirect loop, it’s important to understand how a regular redirect works.

 

Every page on the web has a unique URL that includes the domain name of the website, possibly a few subfolders, and the page name. Users and search engines use URLs to access websites and their content.

 

A page’s URL should ideally never change. Even if it needs to be edited or updated, keeping the same URL allows users and search engines to easily access it.

 

But, URL changes are sometimes unavoidable.

 

When making these changes, make sure that users can still find the content they’re looking for in its new location. This is where redirects come in handy.

 

Redirects, as the name implies, send users who are looking for a specific page to its new URL. You will be clicking the same old URL, but the browser will automatically send you to the new changed one.

 

In most cases, you’ll want to use 301 redirects to notify browsers that a page has been permanently transferred.

 

These are a common solution that do not interfere with your visitors’ browsing experience if they are properly configured.

 

However, if you set up a redirect to a new page and that page redirects back to the old page, you will create a loop and your visitors will be unable to access either.

 

When their browser detects this problem, it will display a redirect loop error. The too many redirects error means that your browser is trapped in an endless loop of redirects.

 

That means your browser is trying to visit one URL, which points to another, which points back to the first, and so it gets stuck.

 

This loop could go on forever, but your browser eventually gives up and displays the “too many redirects” error.

What Leads to Redirect Loops?

You might be wondering why you’re getting this error message and how your site ended up with a redirect loop in the first place. 

This issue could be caused by a number of factors. For example, you could have an SEO plugin installed that uses redirects incorrectly. 

This can happen due to incorrect redirect rules in your web server’s configuration or CMS’s redirect manager, CDN redirect rules, or incorrect alignment between these systems.

For instance, say you’ve got redirects for old URLs configured in your web server and you then move to a redirect manager within your CMS for all future redirects.

It’s also important to note that the error message is different depending on the browser. 

The message in Chrome, for example, reads, “This webpage has a redirect loop problem,” whereas the message in Edge reads, “Hmm… can’t reach this page.” While in Firefox, you’ll see “The page isn’t redirecting properly.”

Finding a Redirect Loop

If your site is showing a redirect error message, you’ll want to fix it as soon as possible. But you have to identify the source of the problem first.

 

Redirect issues are not always caused by the website; they can also be caused by problems with the browser used to access it.

 

Redirect errors are often simple to resolve. Let’s go over some of the most important troubleshooting steps, starting with the most basic.

Fixing a Redirect Loop

If your site is showing a redirect error message, you’ll want to fix it as soon as possible. But you have to identify the source of the problem first.

 

Redirect issues are not always caused by the website; they can also be caused by problems with the browser used to access it.

 

Redirect errors are often simple to resolve. Let’s go over some of the most important troubleshooting steps, starting with the most basic.

1

Cookie Settings

Cookies are a type of saved data that your browser uses to speed up website loading. Clearing your browser’s cookies should be the first step in troubleshooting when a website fails to load properly.

 

Navigate to the browsing data section (called “Privacy” in Chrome) of your browser’s settings menu and clear your browsing data and cookies. After that, restart your browser and enter the URL that displayed the redirect error.

 

If the problem was caused by cookies, the page should now display correctly – and your problem is resolved.

 

If not, you’ll need to move on to the next step.

2

Clear Your Cache

If deleting your cookies does not solve the problem, try clearing your cache. A cache is a collection of stored data that allows sites to load faster and can be kept in a variety of locations (such as your browser or the site’s server).

 

A redirect loop error may indicate that some of the cached information on the site is incorrect or out of date. You can test this by clearing the cache on both your WordPress server and your browser.

 

You can easily clear your server’s cache using your WP Engine portal:

 

In the event of a redirect loop, you may be unable to access your WordPress admin dashboard. However, you can always use the visual interface in your WP Engine portal to make changes.

 

It’s also a good idea to try clearing your browser’s cache, just in case you have any problematic files stored locally. Then, restart your browser and check your site to see if the problem has been resolved.

 

  • Click the Customize icon in the top right corner of Chrome, then Settings. From the toolbar on the left, select Privacy and security. Clear browsing data by clicking the button. Set your time range, then click the Clear Data button.

 

  • In Safari, go to Preferences, then Privacy, then Manage Website Data. Click Remove All, then Remove Now, and finally Done.

 

  • To clear the cache in Firefox, first go to Preferences. From the toolbar on the left, select Privacy & Security. Scroll down to the section titled Cookies and Site Data. Select Clear Data. Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content, should be checked by default. Click Clear.

3

HTTPS Settings

In order to encrypt data transfers between a browser requesting a website and the web server delivering that website, HTTPS means that your website uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security protocol.

 

This protocol can cause the redirect loop in some circumstances. For example, if you’ve forced SSL on your site without installing an SSL certificate, you’ll almost certainly see the error.

 

Because all requests to your hosting server are sent over HTTP, your server has to redirect to HTTPS.

 

As a result, it is important that you make sure that your SSL certificate is properly installed and renewed as needed.

4

Third-Party Services and Plugins

If you use a proxy server, which is an intermediary server that sends requests from multiple clients to different servers, this could be the source of the error message.

 

Cloudflare, for example, has a Flexible SSL option that forces requests between clients and Cloudflare to be sent over HTTPS while allowing requests between Cloudflare and your origin server to be sent over HTTP.

 

If you enable that option but already have an SSL certificate installed on your server, your server will redirect these requests to HTTPS, resulting in the many redirects error.

 

You can solve this problem by changing the encryption mode.

 

If your site is on WordPress, then third-party plugins may also be causing the error. When the permalink of a post is changed, or other conditions are met, redirect plugins allow you to easily and quickly set up redirects.

 

But changing the settings of these plugins or updating them can sometimes result in too many redirect errors.

 

Disable your plugins to see if this is the problem. A good way to test this is to deactivate all of your plugins at once, then reactivate them one at a time to find what’s causing it.

 

If you no longer see too many redirect errors, start activating each of the plugins one by one and refreshing your website after each activation to find the faulty plugin.

 

To resolve the issue, you may need to contact the plugin’s developer or find an alternative to use on your site.

5

Hypertext Access File

If none of the steps above have resolved the too many redirects error, the issue is most likely with how redirects are set up on your server.

 

To double-check this, open your hypertext access file, or .htaccess file, rename it, and create a new one. You can do this using a file manager such as cPanel or an FTP client.

 

Go to File Manager in cPanel and select your .htaccess file. Rename it .htaccess_old by right-clicking it. This is your backup file now.

 

Go to public_html and make a new text file called .htaccess. Copy and paste the code below into the file. You can now save and close the File Manager.

 

This will restore the .htaccess file’s default settings, allowing you to save and refresh your site. If this does not resolve the error of too many redirects, you can restore the backup .htaccess file.

 

If you are using FTP, first select your .htaccess file from the File Manager. Then, using the right-click menu, rename it to.htaccess_old.

 

Now, in File Manager, navigate to public_html. Make a new text file called .htaccess. Copy and paste the code below into the file. Save your changes and then close the File Manager.

Redirect Loops and SEO

When a redirect loop happens, your browser will display an error message, and viewers will be unable to see the destination page.

 

The same thing happens with search engines. Once they realize they are trapped in a redirect loop, they will stop following the redirects and never reach the destination page.

 

A redirect loop passes ranking signals such as link authority and relevance from one URL to the next, and this process never ends because the ultimate URL never resolves. As a result, such ranking signals are no longer available. They impact your website’s usability and crawl-ability, affecting your SEO efforts.

Final Thoughts

Your website is your company’s online home, and it should be available to potential customers at all times. Unfortunately, issues such as wrong redirects make it impossible for them to find the content they are looking for. There is no foolproof way to avoid too many redirect errors, but there are steps you can take to fix it. By fixing these issues as soon as possible, you will make sure that visitors can continue to browse, navigate, and convert on your site easily.

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